Friday, November 09, 2007

A story of mission and vocation: Darren Beadman

The Lutheran Church of Australia's focus for the next synodical period is focussed on vocation. One of the concepts that we often talk about is ministering in your vocation or the priesthood of all believers, and so it is good to come across a story of how this is working in the Christian scene.

Many people in Australia have heard of the name Darren Beadman. He is one of the better jockeys in the racing industry. In 1990 and 1996 He rode Melbourne cup winners and Golden Slippers in in 1984 and 1997. He is considered by many as one of the superstar jockeys. Then all of sudden he retired to pursue a calling as a pastor, studying with an AOG college for a couple of years. However as he studied he discovered that he was called to be ministering amongst the racing scene, not as a full time pastor, but as a jockey who happens to be a Christian.

He is now a member of a St Martin's Anglican Church Kensington, which happens to be right smack bang close to Randwick race course. This congregation has become active in ministering to the racing industry and Darren Beadman has been part of this, not by being the pastor but by opening doors for his congregation and pastor at 'his workplace'. Read the story below from the

Sydney Anglicans are working hard to bring God into the world of horse racing, reports JOSEPH SMITH.
Reaching out to any industry with the gospel is difficult. It is even tougher when the industry is innately distrusted by a large number of Christians.
The horse racing industry has suffered this kind of stigma, however, the ministry of the Australian Racing Christian Chaplaincy (ARCC) has already won over the support of some Christians in high places like Archbishop Peter Jensen and Catholic Archbishop Cardinal George Pell.
The rector of St Martin’s, Kensington, the Rev Jeremy Tonks and retired clergyman, the Rev Paul Bayliss are two ministers who have been instrumental in bringing the gospel to Sydney’s race tracks while also raising awareness of the ministry among Sydney Anglican churches.
Mr Tonks became interested in racing ministry when he took over as the rector of Kensington six years ago. Randwick race course is within the parish boundaries, located just minutes from St Martin’s.
“I was concerned about the fact that we were surrounded by racing staff. Our church had no way of reaching them other than through getting onto the tracks and into stables,” Mr Tonks says.
The Rev Paul Bayliss had similar concerns trying to reach out to workers from Rosehill race course in his time as rector of St Paul’s, Harris Park in the 1980s.
Twenty years later, ARCC has strengthened its links with the Race Track Chaplaincy of America (RTCA). Dr Karin Sowada, Chair of the ARCC Executive Committee, visited the USA in April this year to attend the RTCA annual conference in Houston, Texas.
“It was a great time to be encouraged in ARCC’s ministry and the RTCA certainly see us part of their global network of ministry partners,” she says.
ARCC’s long-term aim is to get a full- time chaplain on all the metropolitan race tracks, however, the Australian context makes this more difficult than the USA, because the USA allows tax exemptions for donations to chaplaincy work. Mr Tonks says the assistance of champion jockey and St Martin’s member, Darren Beadman has helped him build relationships with people in the industry.
“Darren is the biggest help because he is universally respected across the industry. He has been more than generous with his time, going into stables with me and introducing me to people. He is brilliant in assisting the work of ARCC,” Mr Tonks says.
Mr Tonks also runs a Monday afternoon Bible study which has been going for four months.
It is attended by ARCC committee members including Mr Bayliss and bookmakers’ statistician, Graham Isbister. By running the study on Monday afternoons, traditionally the least busy day of the week for many racing workers, Mr Tonks hopes to reach more people as contacts are developed.
September saw another opportunity for improved relations between ARCC and RTCA with the visit of RTCA Executive Director, Dr Enrique Torres, RTCA National President, Edward Smith and USA Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day.
“Pat Day is the like the American equivalent of Darren Beadman. When he retired he had won $297 million in prize money and won the Preakness Stakes five times,” Mr Tonks says.
Pat Day became a Christian during his career after dealing with addictions to drugs and alcohol.
“The RTCA members can open doors for us in the local industry because they are established,” Mr Tonks says.

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